Tue - 16.01.2018

WashPo taps into growing Twitter trend in run-up to US elections

WashPo taps into growing Twitter trend in run-up to US elections

The Washington Post announced last Friday that it was launching, a new section of its site "completely powered by our readers" where it shares a curated selection of Tweets with links to coverage of the US presidential election.

Post Politics wrote that, for the past few weeks, it had been asking readers to share links to their favourite election coverage by tweeting @PostPolitics or with the hashtag #campaignreads. The Post's political team now curates these Tweets using Storify, and publishes them on its new page.

The initiative has potential benefits for Post journalists and their readers. Firstly it helps the Post "filter the deluge of campaign coverage" by asking its users for selection of the articles they enjoyed the most. Secondly it gives readers prominence by crediting them on the if the Post uses articles that they've shared.

So far, the new section does not seem to be receiving a deluge of Tweets; as of 2.30pm (GMT +1) on Monday 30th January, the last link that had been shared was from Thursday 26th January. What's more, a Twitter search for #campaignreads doesn't bring up a huge return.

But whether or not Campaign Reads is a runaway success, it follows a trend of more and more news organizations turning to social media to enhance their election coverage. As the Editors Weblog reported a couple weeks ago, The Economist has launched Electionism, a "flipboard-like app" that shares stories from multiple sources including Twitter. Politico has teemed up with Facebook to measure how positively American voters are talking about Republican candidates.

In a New York Times article last Saturday (shared, in fact, by Amanda Zamora, who announced the launch of Ashley Parker noted the critical role that Twitter was playing in the Republican campaigns. "If the 2008 presidential race embraced a 24/7 news cycle, four years later politicos are finding themselves in the middle of an election most starkly defined by Twitter, complete with 24-second news cycles and pithy bursts," she wrote.

One consequence of the growth of Twitter has been that many competing news organisations are sharing each other's material more; doesn't just feature stories from the Washington Post, but also from the New Yorker, Bloomberg and The Atlantic, to name a few examples.

The Washington Post is not alone. An article by Justin Ellis on Nieman Lab noted a couple weeks ago that collaboration in newsrooms covering the election is growing. As one of many examples, Ellis named "The New York Times' Election 2012 iPhone app, which is built more on linking and aggregation than any Times product before it -- this, despite the fact that the Times devotes enormous resources to its own coverage."

Sources: Washington Post (1) (2), Editors Weblog, New York Times, Nieman Lab


Hannah Vinter


2012-01-30 14:58

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